The Big Question: How We Live This Way

Many, many readers have been asking how we afford to travel the world and write about it. It is time to tell.

Contrary to popular suspicion, there are no trust funds involved. Sometimes, on the road, Lara actually tells people when they ask that she can do this because of her trust fund. We are not sure why, exactly, she chooses this off-color joke, but it is probably to make Claire feel awkward and make life just generally more uncomfortable for her amusement. The people she tells usually never believe her anyway (aside from the fact that it is a lie and Lara has the opposite of a trust fund – a trust hole, if anyone is counting), because she is wearing bad clothes, and her hair is a mess, and there is probably a piece of dirt on her face, and she just generally appears homeless.

So, it’s not a trust fund. Then what is it?

This is how we do what we do. There are several components to our lives, or, as Lara likes to tell people, “We have, like, eight million jobs.”

Job 1
Writers of Vague Things who currently get pennies but have potential. We have a couple projects with the food editor at TrippingOnMyCouch, and after parting from our earlier agents citing irreconcilable differences we are on the hunt again. Claire recently got a great agent for her travel book, All Roads Lead to Einbahn, who is trying to convince publishers to buy it. We are crossing fingers mightily. If you are wondering, we got agents in the first place because we had an idea, we started researching the publishing industry (there are a million books to read on it), and we began sending out massive amounts of emails stalking agents. And we got lucky a couple times. Needless to say, we are hoping to get even luckier the next time and find an agent we actually like to work with.

Job 2
Travel Writers that get lots of free things. We work for a website that has many many thousands of hotels around the world on it. We write feature articles for the site about hotels and tours and thing, and in exchange the hotels and resorts are nice to us and put us up and feed us and pretend we don't look like mangy animals. We generally stay in one place for about a week, and have breakfast and sometimes full board there. In exchange we groom ourselves and have meetings with Scary Hotel Managers and Other Affiliated Officials. This is how we eat (sometimes) and sleep (most always).

Job 3
Freelance Editors who make good money. We work as freelance editors for a web-based international editing company. It is monotonous work, especially considering between us we have worked there for 9 years and our hours of it are piqued with remarks such as: “I hate this job.” But it’s anywhere there’s WiFi and we are lucky bastards to have it.

Job 4 (Claire)
Anthropology Consultant for three mostly international non-profits that do some really interesting things. This is because Claire has a master’s in Anthropology studying such non-profits and will eventually go back and get a PhD, because PhDs are free. And free degrees are great. As you can imagine, being an Anthropology Consultant for a non-profit pays along the same lines as investment banking, so this is a crucial aspect of Claire’s income (sarcasm evident; Lara wonders if Claire even gets paid. Lara is now typing and has deduced from Claire's wardrobe and tendency to spend hours comparison shopping in supermarkets that she does not really.)

Job 5 (Lara)
Future Doctor and Sometimes Waitress (when she is in the US) at a fancy San Francisco restaurant where she wears outfits that make her look like a dapper penguin to save money for travel and medical school. Waitresses deal with people’s special requests and cuisine infused outbursts in exchange for generally (IRS people stop reading now) tax free tips.

Dream Job 6
We want to write for an airline magazine, or bifurcate our bodies such that a clone could work for American Airlines headquarters and get free or compensated airline flights. Because we drop major money on airlines, as you might imagine.

Dream Jobs 7-1000
Any more travel writing gigs or general ideas that people have. If you know someone somewhere who wants help with something, we are generally quite flexible and willing to explore even slightly profitable options in exchange for experience, general fun, or free stuff.

In sum, although we are lucky bastards, it is feasible for you too to quit life and do this, if your little heart so desires. We get a real kick out of it when readers write us and ask about how, so please do. Even if only to say that we are idiots and you hate our blog and it reads badly and you hate that blogspot made us a Blog of Note. Our email? You may know it: OR


nameless_one said...

I had planned making "where I've been" map and blog on that subject as soon as I finish uni and start traveling... Well, you got yourself a reader ;)

MsPhilosopher said...

Just saw your blog for the first time.So inspiring! I wish I could do this...!
Well thanks for explaining how you afford it all because I was rather wondering whether you were filthy rich or something.

Jaala said...

write personal ads/ Resumes for a fee or take up tutoring in english -very lucrative>

SavvySunshine said...

I just have a quick minute, since I'm supposed to be writing that DAMN paper. So, all I have to say is "Anthropology in the HizzOUSE!" (I am so ghetto...).

Does anyone want to learn about the Itelmens of Kamchatka in NE Russia? Ask, me, please...

Go Claire! Go Claire!

(Lara, you rock too, because I wanted to be a doctor, but too much damn time in the hospital will cure that of a person reeeeal quick. Medical anthropology and Public Health, while being far less financially lucrative, are now viable options and alternatives.)


herewegoagain said...

wait! I also need those last 20 years I spent with kids and dishes given BACK TO ME NOW!

But, as always, you inspire....

Candice said...

I am sad.

I have just entertained myself at work for 3 whole days straight by reading all the back issues of your blog. What now… damn. I´m actually going to have to do some work, rather than just looking like I´m investigating migration law (BTW, thanks for not having too many photos and graphics, it´s hard to pretend to work when there are penguins or chic Indians with henna tattoos on the screen).

Oh, and like Lana in her uni lecture, I also get some strange looks in the office when I´m reading your blog and can´t help but laugh. (Have you noticed the no laughing policy in most offices?) I even choked on my water as I read the comment of Mt Everest making you its bitch, and had to go to the bathroom. But that was fun, anything to get away from the desk.

Seismic_Pirate said...

You ARE a couple of lucky bastards!
I too, travel the world, but not with quite the freedom you two have (Pirates have a code to follow). I'm currently a few hundred miles NW of Alaska, on the edge of the ice pack so i hope its warmer whereever the hell you guys are. Good luck fellow road warriors;)

Tim said...

"and will eventually go back and get a PhD, because PhDs are free. And free degrees are great."

Ha! you are too funny....

BioquimicBoy said...

No, No, No... HEY!!!

Antonio said...

Go Claire! Go Claire! hihihihi

Jessica White said...

Yes.... GO, GO, GO.

thethinker said...

Wow. I'd love to be able to travel the world like that. But, being a 16 year old with not a penny to her name and parents who don't completely agree with the idea of me dropping out to pursue dreams that don't happen to involve a high school diploma, things won't exactly work out in my favor.

Lana said...

girls i like the new layout! go andy!

today's widget fortune: "stupidity, like virtue, is it's own reward"

also, "ever get the feeling the world's on tape and a reel is missing?"

see my new picture!? I LOVE YOU!

Writer Girl said...

oh my gosh,

you girls rock!

Quick said...

Good on you both. So many people don't realise the treadmill they are on.

I recently quit my job as the editor of a clubbing magazine because it was driving me nuts. Actual nuts. So I quit and went to Turkey, Spain and the UK for a bit. I now don't have a one word answer for "What do you do?" And I like that.

You're on a whole other level though. Impressive stuff.

麒麟Kylin said...

Hey,I want to know that have you gone to China?
Welcome to China~!
I hope that I can see your photo be taken in China.

Anonymous said...

How crazily cool is it!

Tim said...

Hey girls, I'm back, I had an idea-you could ask for donations here on your blog with a PayPal link. I've seen other bloggers do that.

your girl chelsea morning said...

Girls, I applaud what you're doing--and you're now on my list of cool peeps. I just got back from Ireland last week--and it reminded me how much I love traveling abroad....I travel so much domestically for work, but it's just not the same--it's not even in the same hemisphere as same...I could smack myself for getting not doing more traveling abroad when I was in my late teens and early twenties (I talk as if I'm dying now--I'm only 27)....but really, I've only been to Holland, Belguim, France,Ireland, Mexico and Cananda (and we all know that Mexico and Canada barely count!)....I'm enviess of your journies....keep up the travels and stories!

Lana said...

dude, if you do what time says, and put up a paypal thing, maybe you can get rich like [save] karyn! and that way you could afford stuff like laundry and haircuts regularly.

Marty said...

Nice site you have here...
And you are indeed lucky bastards!



You basically have the life I want.
Good for you.

Claire and Lara said...

Tim: What would we ask for money for? Donations for other people would be good maybe for HateToHelp...

We do want sponsors, though, and are pursuing this goal at weird, weird, KIND companies. Like running shoe companies, and toiletry companies...and bookstores!

If you know of any ones, let them know about us. We're experimental.

Jon said...

Ah ha! So that's where the money comes from! Travel on.

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kijney said...

Wonderful blog!Interesting how you afford all this.Thanks for your detailed explanation about it.someone may think otherwise!!

Anonymous said...

Lara has the opposite of a trust fund – a trust hole, if anyone is counting), because she is wearing bad clothes, and her hair is a mess, and there is probably a piece of dirt on her face, and she just generally appears homeless.

You mean your Dad did all that to you. Afrosa.

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